TWITTER FEED

July 20, 2013

Exclusive Grant Opportunity for Affiliates: Places of Invention

We’re looking for up to 20 Affiliates to receive $10,000 and training in Washington, D.C. to document innovation in your community.

Places of Invention (POI) is an exhibition in development, organized by the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, and scheduled to open at the National Museum of American History in 2015.

poi2The Lemelson Center team is looking to Affiliates and their community partners to explore the central idea of the Places of Invention exhibition—that invention is everywhere and a product of the unique combination of people, resources, and surroundings that come together in a certain place and time.

Teams, led by Affiliates, are asked to apply these themes to their own communities and create multiple deliverables, including videos, oral histories, and public programs. One or more short videos synthesizing their findings will be featured on a dynamic, large-scale interactive map, central to the POI exhibition. Join us in this new model of co-creation of exhibition content! The deadline to apply via written proposal is September 1, 2013.

For more details and information on how to apply, email or call Anna Karvellas at (202) 633-4722.

Places of Invention has been made possible by a generous grant from the National Science Foundation.

July 30, 2012

invention invention everywhere!

Since Smithsonian Affiliations started collaborating with the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the National Museum of American History, we’ve learned a lot about Places of Invention.  (See this blog to learn more about our collaboration.) 

Affiliate staff and their community partners, on the roof of the National Museum of American History during the kickoff workshop for Places of Invention

Affiliates have joined the action too.  On June 15, Affiliate staff and their community partners joined a day-long workshop to kickoff their individual research projects around their own communities and what makes them so innovative.  (Read more about the kickoff workshop on the Lemelson Center’s blog, Bright Ideas.)

Now, we are all much more attuned to what makes a place of invention – be it exceptional natural resources, the right mixture of people and skills, or an inspiring location… or something else.  Invention was readily on view during a recent trip to western Massachusetts, and we suspect, can be documented in many other communities as well.

Join the quest for invention and share your stories with us!

 

February 27, 2012

do you live in a place of invention?

 

The iconic Hewlett-Packard garage in 2009. Courtesy of BrokenSphere/ Wikimedia Commons.

Company labs.  Governmental research centers.  Universities.  These places are where many of us think inventions happen.  But how about garages, coffee shops, parks, or other community gathering spots?!  Invention can happen in all kinds of places.  This idea forms the foundation of the Lemelson Center’s exhibition in development, Places of Invention.  It’s about communities “where people, resources, and spaces have come together to spark inventiveness.”  Does that describe your environment?  If so, consider contributing your story to the Places of Invention exhibition website.

The Lemelson Center team has assembled case studies of historic and contemporary invention hubs – Hartford, CT in the late 1800s; Hollywood, CA in the 1930s-40; Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN in the 1950s-60s; Silicon Valley, CA and the Bronx, NY in the 1970s-80s; and Fort Collins, CO today.  Over the course of the next year, the exhibition team will work closely with six Affiliates to create community documentation projects of their places of invention to be featured in the exhibition.  Affiliate partners in this project include: the Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA); American Museum of Science and Energy (Oakridge, TN); Museum of History and Industry (Seattle, WA); Lakeview Museum (Peoria, IL); American Textile History Museum (Lowell, MA); and The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art and Technology (Newark, OH).

But we know there are many more stories to be told.  Take the Lemelson Center’s survey or email them at lemcen@si.edu to describe your place of invention and join the conversation!

April 26, 2011

affiliates collaborate to Spark! imaginations

Despite being the world’s largest museum complex, one of the challenges at the Smithsonian Institution remains taking the unique offerings away from the invisible walls of the National Mall and “encourage inventive creativity in young people” who may never visit Washington D.C.

The Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation has met this opportunity head on by launching the Spark!Lab Outreach Kit Project, through a distribution of six organizations including five Affiliate museums. This collaboration is seen as an effort to extend the reach of Spark!Lab—the center’s hands-on invention activity center—beyond the boundaries of the National Museum of American History. The kits will be designed to replicate some of the most popular Spark!Lab activities and provide opportunities for partner museums to connect their collections and exhibitions to themes of invention and innovation.

The Spark!Lab kits will test and engage students in a variety of interactive stations including “Shaping Space,” a structure building activity; “Now What?,” a problem-solving game; “Snap Circuits,” which gives visitors the chance to use real circuit components to create and test their own electric inventions; and “Soundscapes,” which encourages children to use items, including musical ramps, xylophone staircases and bridges with bells, to create music and sound pathways for marbles. The “Spark!Lab Jr.” program helps learners under the age of 5 develop inventive thinking and problem-solving skills. 

“At the Lemelson Center we believe that a playful approach to problem solving can spark new ideas and lead to great inventions,” said Arthur Molella, director of the center. “This outreach project allows us to reach children outside of the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and inspire a new generation of inventive Americans.”

During this pilot program, Spark!Lab kits will be featured at the following Smithsonian Affiliate museums-the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, Annmarie Garden in Solomons, Maryland, the Western Science Center in Hemet, California, the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Daytona Beach, Florida, and the Science Museum Oklahoma in Oklahoma City.

“Science Museum Oklahoma is excited to partner with the Smithsonian and offer a new challenge to our younger guests!” said Suzette Ellison, vice president of Programs and Interpretation at the museum.

An educator at Annmarie Garden inventing with a Spark!Lab kit

“We are very excited to introduce the Spark Lab kits in our classrooms,” said Jaimie Jeffrey, Education Director at Annmarie Garden. “As an arts center, teaching children to apply creative problem-solving skills and innovative thinking to everything they do is paramount for us. These kits are great reinforcements for these strategies in all of our kids’ and family programs.”

The Lemelson Center expects to develop an online Spark!Lab “tool kit” based on evaluations and ‘lessons learned’ from the in-museum activity kits. The on-line content will outline Spark!Lab’s educational philosophy, mission, and vision, and will include simple at-home activities and a list of additional resources for parents and kids.

The Spark!Lab Affiliate program is supported by a gift from the LEGO Children’s Fund.  And be sure to meet the Spark!Lab staff at the annual Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference in June.

December 4, 2010

SI and Affiliates collaborate on Places of Invention

 

 

Places of Invention is a planned exhibition at the National Museum of American History organized  by the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.  Scheduled to open in 2014, it will feature a selection of “hot spots” of invention and innovation—places where a critical mass of inventive people, networks, institutions, funding and other resources come together and creativity flourishes. Focusing on the mid-19th century to the present, each exhibition area will have hands-on experiences illustrating the ways that place and social collaboration shape the inventive process.

Places of Invention represents a new model in exhibition design, where content will be co-created in a collaborative manner by the center, professional partners and the public.   That’s where Affiliates come inPlaces of Invention has received a $2.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation which will, in part, support a community documentation project and related programming at six Affiliates.  Affiliates with strong emphases on invention in their own missions will receive training to work with a community partner to document what makes their city a “place of invention.”  Affiliates for the pilot phase of the initiative include: the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge, TN; The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art and Technology in Newark, OH; York County Culture and Heritage Museums in Rock Hill, SC; the Women’s Museum in Dallas, TX; the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, PA; and the American Textile History Museum in Lowell, MA.

Their photographs, interviews, videos, oral histories, archives and more will become a part of the Places of Invention exhibition at the Smithsonian, inviting others to view their cities in new ways.

For more on the grant and project, read the press release.  The pilot phase is set to begin in Fall 2011, so watch out for more updates as the project progresses.  In the meantime, congratulations to our Lemelson Center and Affiliate colleagues on this unique collaboration!

 

Privacy

site designed by - ivey doyal